NEWTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Democratic Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke attended a closed-door meeting Wednesday in Newtown to talk about his aggressive plans for gun control with a community directly affected by gun violence.
The former congressman met with gun violence prevention advocates and the community for a round table discussion at the Newtown Community Center on the Fairfield Hills campus.
Almost seven years ago, Newtown experienced one of the most devastating mass shooting in modern U.S. history at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A man with an assault rifle entered the school and killed 20 first-graders and 6 educators before killing himself.
Among O’Rourke’s plans, he plans to take assault rifles away from gun owners.
In a debate in September, O’Rourke said he wanted to take away guns from civilians that were clearly meant for the battlefield. At that debate, he famously said, “Hell yes we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against fellow Americans anymore.”
O’Rourke walked through the misty rain Wednesday to listen to the people of Sandy Hook, to help him better understand gun control as he campaign for president. One of the first speakers Jordan Gomes, a Sandy Hook tragedy survivor.
“What do you plan to do as president to not just reach across the aisle, but connect with everybody who might have a problem with common sense gun reform, and ensure our nation safety?”– Jordon Gomes, Sandy Hook tragedy survivor
O’Rourke’s answer: do just what he’s doing now; get everybody in a room and hear their ideas.
“We may not agree on every single point, but we agree on the goal, we may just see a different path to get there, and very often we come a lot closer than either of us expected to, at the outset of the conversation.”– Beto O’Rourke, Democratic presidential candidate
He listened to Mike Song, who lost his son, Ethan, as a result of a gun in Guilford. Ethan had gone over to a friend’s house and there was an unsecured firearm in the room; it went off. Since then, ‘Ethan’s Law’ has been passed in Connecticut, creating better gun safety storage laws.
“Would you consider supporting a safe storage law that is being forwarded right now by Senator Blumenthal from here in Connecticut.”– Mike Song, Guilford father whom lost his son to accidental shooting
O’Rourke said yes, and that “it makes all the eminent sense in the world to do that.”
Outside the event, there were a lot of police and a lot of media, but there weren’t any protesters.
There were no people out here with signs yelling like we see it a lot of these events. This time around, there were Newtown residents who couldn’t get in, but had definite opinions opposite of O’Rourke’s
“Children died in Sandy Hook and for Beto O’Rourke to come here just for political gain, and stand on the graves of these children, he comes here. Why is he here?”– Rebecca Carnes, of Newtown
Beto O’Rourke addressed that sentiment saying, “I have come here tonight, not to pitch myself not to lay on a platform, not to campaign, but to listen to the people of Newtown.”